Mike and Diane Wilson -
Free Spirit Writers
|One life. Grab it and run|
(Mrs Herman Darewski)
This page is dedicated to Madge Temple, a musical star of the early twentieth century.
She was born Alice Anne Skinner in Paddington, London, in about 1875. Her parents were Charles Skinner and Isabella Kezia Cock. They were married on 29th January 1866. Charles Skinner, 23, was a painters labourer, from Marylebone, Middlesex, while Isabella Skinner was 24, and from New Cross, Surrey.
Alice, aged 20, married Henry Frederick Hermann Asche, aged 24, a waiter, on 6th October 1895 in Marylebone, London. She and Henry divorced (possibly in 1903).
She married Herman Edouard Darewski in Paddington, London, in 1914 (Herman was Bridlington's Musical Director from 1924 to 1939, apart from a couple of years when he led an orchestra in London. For a short while he was also at Blackpool).
The earliest reference I have found on the internet for Madge Temple is a mention in The Era, a London publication on 5th March 1892. "The very clever Miss Madge Temple appears as Prince Silverbell." It appears that Madge was a guest at the wedding of Mr P. A. Morris and Miss Edith Rowe in Norfolk around 1st October 1898, as her name is in a list of people who donated gifts, Madge giving a photo in a frame.
On 30th December 1904, the Surrey Mirror reported that at the Grand Theatre, Croydon, "Peggy Sabine was acted by Madge Temple, a dainty and clever little actress, full of piquancy; her dancing and songs were delightful. Miss Madge Temple was also a very capable Lady Patricia Vane."
In 1906, Madge was starring at the Coliseum in London. A magazine cutting I have shows her in her Humber car, the caption of which states: "Miss Madge Temple, who performs three times daily at the Coliseum, is now enabled, by means of her Humber car, to drive home in the intervals, instead of, as heretofore, being compelled to spend a considerable time at the theatre waiting her 'turn,' rather than risk the journey by slower and less reliable means of locomotion."
Madge Temple was on stage at the Empire Theatre, Croydon, starting on 25th November 1907. While appearing there, she was about to go into the theatre when she was stopped by two men at the stage door. One said: "I arrest you in the King's name." She sent for her husband, who found that the men wanted £18 in cash or they would take Madge into custody. The money was found and Madge was handed a receipt headed: "Inland Revenue v Madge Temple." Madge had earlier claimed that she was over-assessed and had informed the authorities but knew nothing of this subsequent action.
It was reported in December 1908, that "Madge Temple wears a hat at the Coliseum (London), which is 14ft round, and cost £120." Another source adds: "It is trimmed with fifteen ostrich feathers, each two yards long and 100 pounds each." [There seems to be a discrepancy here. Is the 100 pounds the weight of each ostrich feather? Or the cost of each feather? Either way, the figures don't seem to add up. - Mike]
Also in 1908, it was announced in The Cornishman for 22nd October that Miss Temple, "who has been appearing at the Coliseum in the ‘Marathon’ hat, has decided to offer the hat for sale, and devote the proceeds to some charity."
Miss Temple appeared in Hull in 1908 and 1909, the Hull Daily Mail reporting both occasions, one item referring to her as 'a charming singer.'
In January 1910, Madge was photographed (see below) in her aviation costume, "ready to fly her British MV biplane."
Madge had a contract with the London Pavilion to appear as The Musical Comedy Queen (I have the sheet of paper). For two weeks commencing 25th April 1910 she would be paid £19.00 per week (six night performances), for three weeks commencing 4th September 1911 she would also be paid £19.00 per week, and she would again receive £19.00 for two weeks from 25th March 1912. Whether this contract was fulfilled I have yet to discover. [Apparently, £19 in 1910 is worth £1444 in 2012. - Mike]
Madge was on the bill on 24th July and 31st July 1911 when she appeared at The Oxford Theatre in London.
In December 1911, Madge Temple featured among the entertainers at the Royal Aero Club annual dinner at the Royal Automobile Club. Madge also appeared in the Evening Telegraph & Argus in Scotland (right), with the caption: "Miss Madge Temple leaves her London residence in her harem style dress."
The following year, on 11th May, Madge appeared at a Gigantic Combination Matinee in aid of the Titanic Fund at the Leeds Grand. Later in 1912, Madge Temple appeared at the Hippodrome, Brighton, along with the famous actor Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. A handbill declares Madge to be: "The Brilliant Star!" "With Melodious Song Successes."
On 6th May 1912, the Yorkshire Evening Post carried a piece which said: "The Helping Hand. This outspoken acknowledgement Miss Temple, all the more interesting because it is apparent by her bright eyes and clear complexion, coincides with the opinions of many more public men and women. Dr William's 'Pink Pill' are well known . . ." I think this must be an advertisement!
Madge was a big star in Australia, and appeared at the Tivoli Theatre, in Adelaide.
The Wairarapa Daily Times reported on 12th April 1913 that "Miss Madge Temple, billed as 'The Fashion Plate of Vaudeville,' made her first appearance at the Tivoli on Saturday. She proved an attractive, charmingly dressed lady, who sings in a clever and captivating way."
An Australian report published on 14th June 1913 says: "Miss Madge Temple is an artist of rare talent and is known as 'the Fashion Plate of Vaudeville.' Her frocks are both 'rich and rare,' and she wears them with consummate grace."
I have a flyer where her name is top of the bill for the week commencing Saturday, 21st June, 1913. She received a letter at the theatre from Adeline Genee Isitt, a famous ballet dancer of the time. Madge was scheduled to make an eight-week tour, but this was extended.
During the tour, some Melbourne oysters made her ill, to the extent that the doctor went so far as to express grave doubts as to her recovery. A comment in The Advertiser said: ". . . oysters were very nearly responsible for the premature end of a brilliant vaudeville career."
Prior to her appearances at the Tivoli, Madge visited South Africa with her husband (I can't understand this reference to 'husband,' as she didn't marry Herman until 1914 and was already divorced from husband No.1). One of the military officers accompanying them left the protection of the native beaters and was faced with a lion. The officer fired and missed. The animal was nearly upon him when Madge fired at the lion. She missed too but the shot scared the lion and all escaped safely.
Madge also told the story of an incident while she was playing Soo-Soo in The Chinese Honeymoon. "I had a rather sharp attack of indigestion, and I consulted a doctor, who promised to send me a powder. He sent it along to the theatre, and it was given to my maid. I was on the stage, and the maid was bringing it to me, when she fell over a projecting piece of scenery and spilt it. When I came off at the conclusion of the set there was the doctor, as white as death, with the announcement that he had made a mistake, and that the powder the maid had spilt would have been sufficient to kill fifty people."
In 1914, a newspaper report stated: "During the past month, four animals have been born in Bostock's Jungle at Earl's Court Exhibition. The interesting creatures are an alligator baby, a sealion calf, a lion cub and a sloth pup, and in honour of their arrival, Mr Frank C. Bostock decided upon a public 'christening.' Four London actresses stood as 'godmothers' to the infants. All the babies were attired in garments peculiar to children of tender age, and each had its own miniature feeding bottle. The young lion was particularly docile, the only one giving trouble being the sealion, which had to be held down by force by male assistants. Each lady nursed and named her infant. Madge Temple named the sealion pup Flip-Flap.
Over the years these snippets have praised Madge Temple:
The Era, London;
19th March 1892: Miss Madge Temple's Will-o'-the-Wisp is enjoyable.
Madge Temple put her signature on a programme for Midnight Frolic, at New Amsterdam Theatre. The Midnight Frolic started on Monday, 25th February, 1929.
On 12th April 1929, Madge Darewski is listed as arriving in Southampton as a first class passenger from New York on the White Star liner Olympic. Noted as "Proposed address in the United Kingdom" is Talbot Mews, W.C.
Madge and Herman had two sons, Neville Lawrence Temple Darewski and Barrie Randal Darewski. Neville was killed in Italy during World War II on 15th November 1944, while Barrie died in 1996. Barrie was named after J. M. Barrie, famous for creating the character Peter Pan.
At one time, Miss Temple, while looking through an old curiosity shop in the West End of London, was "much impressed with an exquisite little painting which she believed to be a copy of a Raphael. Being for sale at ten shillings, she at once bought it. She took it to a well-known expert, who offered her £800 for the picture. Miss Temple is, however, retaining the treasure, which it is thought probably worth even more than the sum mentioned in the offer."
Madge died in Sheffield in 1943, aged 62. She had been ill for some time. One report of her death included the following: "Madge Temple appeared in many musical comedies, including 'Floradora,' 'Chinese Honeymoon,' and 'The Country Girl.' During the past twenty years, she has been involved in an unusual number of accidents. She was seriously injured in two car crashes, was in a big German train crash in 1926 when twenty people died, and in the wreck of a Scottish express in which twelve people died."
Among the pieces she
I wonder which year this was?
This poster was in the box of Herman Darewski ephemera purchased at Spencer's Auctions in 2011.
I am still looking for photographs and postcards featuring Madge Temple.
Any further information about her would be appreciated.
Here's Madge in other poses for the camera.
Left: This is the first piece of music I bought with Madge's name on it.
Right: This image is taken from The Tatler, 10th January, 1906. The caption reads: "Miss Madge Temple as 'Fenella' in the operetta of that name composed by Mr Napoleon Lambelet, which is running at the Coliseum."
Miss Madge Temple, "The popular Comedy Queen," also sang numbers written by her husband Herman Darewski, which were published December 1910/January 1911, called 'Kiss, Kiss, Kiss,' and 'In The Days Gone By.'
I'd love to find the music for those two numbers.